The good, the bad, and the ugly: Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on emerging adults' body image

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted emerging adults’ lives in various aspects of
    physical and mental health, in part, because of lack of physical activity and face-to-face
    socialization paired with increased technology and social media time. Given that all of these
    aspects may be linked to poorer mental health outcomes such as body dissatisfaction and
    negative body image, it is imperative that we examine how these changes to daily life have
    influenced individuals’ thinking about their bodies. Therefore, we asked 257 emerging adults
    (Mage=21.9) what the greatest impact of the pandemic was in regard to their body image.
    Results from an inductive analysis were divided amongst positive, negative, and neutral
    experiences. Participants who commented on their positive experience mentioned more time
    to make healthy meals and exercise, space to think and appreciate their health, and less social
    comparison than in their pre-pandemic routines. Participants who spoke about their negative
    experience mentioned constant exposure to mirrors and social media, body checking
    behaviors, weight gain, and shut downs of supportive services such as gyms, sport, and
    dermatology/aesthetic businesses. We will utilize these main themes to foster discussion
    around the importance of bolstering body appreciation and encouraging positive health
    behaviors in self-care practices.

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  • Type of Item
    Conference/Workshop Presentation
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International